(122-11-21) Death of a Traitor
Death of a Traitor
Summary: Lord Carolis questions a dying man. (TW: Euthanasia).
Date: Date of play (21/11/122)
Related: http://gobmush.wikidot.com/plot:something-is-rotten-at-winterfell

The house is in excellent order, the guards kept scarp by regular rotation, the servants kept busy fighting dust in the less used rooms. Apparently someone ordered the kitchen to keep a supply of assorted stinky cheeses on hand in case of the Stark heir's return. As a result, the moment the Lord was sighted, someone started heating wash water, and someone else appeared with warm bread, several cheeses, and cider for the master. Ser Malcolm is off somewhere, but expected back in a few hours. Tellur Snow is visiting the dragon manse. The duty officer also reports that Tellur's prisoner has had a stroke some time ago and despite the best care is apt to die at any minute.

Carolis had sent word ahead that he was a day outside of Oldtown. Two days, actually, but he'd said a day then rode like hell for letter. Upon arriving, Midnight is too tired to bite, even. Carolis himself is exhausted because he hasn't stopped to rest once today. His heart is always going to be in the North, but after the war and politics, and with word of Winter to bring, He was eager to return to Southern climes. Carolis has a quick wash, a quick bite, and then asks to be taken to the prisoner. There is no time to waste.

They have done their best to make the Old Man comfortable. They have propped him up in bed and there is a Septa reading to him, though the Maester's expression suggests he is not attending closely. The damage from the stroke is obvious, his left arm hangs loose and that side of his face is slack, giving him an asemetrical look. In the last year or two since lord carolis last saw him, he seems to have aged a decade or more. The once vigourous scholar is a frail looking shell, loose skin hanging where a padding of Winter defying fat once was. His skin and the white of his eyes are yellowish. his hand trembles. In his lap is set a makeshift talking board. He turns his eyes on the door when it opens and this look of terror and shame comes over his face as he beholds his favorate pupil. he slurs something unintelligible in his distress.

Carolis has grown broad in the shoulders, or maybe it's just that he carries himself like a man now instead of a youth. There's a more mature look in his eyes. He looks so much like Lord Cregan's brother, for all that Carolis has always favored their mother and Cregan his father. He stops just inside the doorway and looks at the dying husk of the man he used to worship. He has every reason to hate the man, to scorn him. Instead, his gaze is steady, though there's pity in his eyes. "Maester. Shh, don't try to talk." He comes to sit at the old man's side, a strapping man suddenly tentative as a child. Only guarded, as if the sick old man could yet do him harm.

The Septa looks between then and though stern ofcountenenve, her voice is kindly enough, "shall I give you some privacy? I'll be right outside if you need help with him." She moves off on silent slippers, the book of children's tales left behind on a table. The old man's books and papers have been cleared away, his one cluttered desk empty. He paws at Carolis' arm, expression urgent.

"Thank you," Carolis tells the septa as she leaves. He may be one of those half-feral Northron savages who worship twigs and rocks, but he's a polite one. He turns his attention back to the old man, and with endless care, he directs the pawing hand to the talking board. "Here. Tell me with this."

The process is slow, the shake in his hand being bad. He spells out, "Beast has letters for you."

"Does he. I shall have to ask him for them." Carolis doesn't have to ask who Beast is. Who else could it be? He sighs quietly. He should hate the man. He does hate the man. But the old bastard practically raised him. He had opened the door to so much knowledge, to truths that had gone for so long buried. Sure, Carolis hates the traitor, but he still loves the mentor he'd pretended to be. "Don't exhaust yourself," he says gently. "You should rest. I just wanted to see you."

The disgraced Measter gives him a pleading look. "The best of them. You." He tries to grab Lord arolis hand in his weak grip.

Carolis takes the Maester's limp hand in both of his, leaving the functioning one for the talking board. With a small, sad smile, he says, "I never thought of it as a competition." He purses his lips, then asks, "Do you need anything?" He glances to the bedside table for a pitcher and cup.

The Maester of Winterfell seems relieved and comforted when Carolis takes his hand, relaxing a little into the proping pillows. "You here." He looks up at him emploringly, and spells out, "Wanted All for You." There is pitcher and a cup. The pitcher contains wine so deluted it is nearly water, mulled with herbs and a hint of poppy to keep him calm..

Carolis's features pinch as he says, "Oh, Maester. I am content. The knowledge and stories you told me provided all the power I've ever wanted or needed." Even if he has a hard time believing this wretched man had a care for anything but keeping his masters happy, the facade was so much more real to him, and he'd never gotten to say good-bye to it. He releases the Maester's hand so that he can pour him some water, and he takes up the cloth beside the cup to gently prop up the paralyzed side of the old man's face and to catch wine dribbling out.

The dying man chokes a little and does dribble much as Carolis predicted, but more goes in than out and it does seem to ease him. After he spells out. "If son. Want be you." That pleeding look again. "Lord or king. All for you."

Carolis takes it carefully and unhurried. He sets the cup down when the old man is done, and he dabs his mouth and chin clean. He knows if Cregan had any say, the man would have never survived long enough to have a stroke and grow old and weak in a deathbed. That was Cregan's burden and one Carolis didn't envy. He could afford the luxury of compassion. "You acted out of love?" he says, tilting his head at the Maester quizzically.

The old man nods, expression sincere. He spells out, "Son I never had. Best of them."

Carolis smiles sadly. There's no pleasure in the expression. "You meant the world to me, but with every one of my family your cadre hurt, it was like a knife twisting in my gut." He takes a steadying breath. Then, "If you would do right by me, then I ask you to tell me who they are. Name names. Every single traitor."

The old man weeps, ugly and undignified.

Carolis takes the old man's limp hand, and he has the kerchief on hand to gently pat dry the tears. The angrier he gets, the calmer he gets. "What's done is done," he says, his voice sonorous and soothing. "Let us think instead on making it right. It's the only thing I would ask of you."

The old man closes his eyes for long enough that it ,looks like he may have drifted off. When he opens them, there is resolve in his eyes. He spells out, "Brandy. Enough to finish me. Half now. Half after."

It doesn't take long for Carolis to agree, and he rises to his feet. He goes to fetch the brandy himself. No need to make any servants aware, nor to turn them into unwilling accomplices. He scares up some juice of poppy as well, and he returns to the room with bottle, vial, and a cup. "One name," he says as he sits down. "As a show of good will."

The Old Man watches carolis enter with the drink watching the brandy with an open lust that most men would reserve for a lover. As Carolis sets his terms the Maester gets this look of such anguish, to be so close and then to be teased. his hand shaking worse, he spells out, "One sip first and yoour word as Stark."

Carolis arches a brow. "After everything that has passed between us, do you really think I will hesitate to hasten you to your rest?" His smile is kind, but there's just enough hardness in his eyes to convey the sentiment isn't entirely one of mercy. "You have my word as a Stark. One name, and then you may have the first half. I've brought poppy juice for the second to ease the passing."

The Dying man slumps in defeat and slowly spells out, "Kubos."

Carolis tilts his head so he can read the name. He makes a mental note. He nods once, and he says gently, "Thank you. Here." He remembers too well what goes into caring for an invalid. He's just not used to being on the other end of the equation. He's patient, though, and not unkind as he holds the cup to the old man's lips and helps him keep it in his mouth so he can swallow it. The anger starts to fade. What use is there in having hatred for a sad, dying man?

The Maester's hand flutters excitedly and his eyes close as he drinks, his expression one of desperation slowly changing into something akin to religious exstacy. In his eagerness for oblivion, all else is forgotten, whatever he wanted to say to Carolis, all pleadings and guilt and regret.

All that is left is distress at every drop wasted to his tendancy to drool.
Carolis keeps a careful watch on the man. Not too much. Not so much he's no longer coherent. "There we are," he says softly. "Easy, now." He draws the cup away and dabs at his lips and chin. "Don't leave me so soon; I've only just gotten back. Do you not think it will sadden me to lose you?"

The Maester moans in real distress as the brandy is pulled away. Forgetting himself, the old man cries, "Ea! Ea! Oralowoly! Onipore!" Then after an obvious struggle for composure he spells out very slowly with a much steadier hand, "So grown. Man now. Like Cregan. Best of them. Loved You. Like a son. Best of them." He is weeping now, drink turning him maudlin. He cries, "Eeee eee! Anaying! Eeeee? Aroli Ah?"

Carolis shushes him gently, ever patient. "Soon," he tells him. His eyes, always so bright, glitter wetly. "Please," he whispers. "Tell me the rest of their names. Tell me who made you do these things so I can remember you as the man I loved like a father."

The door is closed. Lord Carolis hasn't wanted any servants peeking in while he's helping their charge commit suicide. Not locked. But closed.
You paged Tellur with 'The Septa they have look after him when others are busy is in the hall. Servants would direct you upstairs to the Maester's room if you want lord carolis.'

The Old man weeps harder. He pats whatever of lord Carolis is closest, then nodding, he tries to gather his strength and his wits to concentrate. He spells very slowly, "More story in letter. Harlow. Uncle. Roylan. Harlow. Maester. Ravens. Kubos. Friend. Sorry. Sorry. Best of them. Lord Stark. king. All for you." He moans, "Aroli! Aroli! Eeeee!"

Which is of course the point where Tellur comes in, absolutely breathless. He has ridden hard to get here - everything is quite chaotic. Carolis would see that near a year has changed him - his hair is longer, tied back in intricate small braids. The clothing is Northern cut, but southern materials. And he is burned dark from living almost entirely in the woods.

Carolis reads the talking board, making quick mental notes. He knows some of those names, and a ripple of anger upsets the surface of his calm. Briefly. "Shh, it's all right, Maester." He pours the vial of poppy juice into the brandy left in the cup. "Get some rest, now. Here we are." As he lifts the cup to the man's lips, he hums quietly. It's a funeral song, one of the soothing ones about resting after a long battle. He's patient. It's hard for the old man to swallow, but really, it's not like either of them are going anywhere.

This time the Old Man stares into his formal pupil's eyes as he drinks. His face is a map of burst veins over yellowish skin. His eyes are bloodshot over failing organ yellow. The eyes are glassy and he is struggling to focus, but he keeps gazing at the Lord he betrayed and failed.

Tellur stares at his utterly beloved, gone for far too long Cat, and then the cup, and he says "…but that is too much, Lord Carolis, it may harm him." His voice is awkward, rough from lack of speaking to others, in general "…Lord Carolis, it is dangerous to give him too much. It may hurt him."

Carolis sets the cup aside, and he takes the Maester's good hand, the one that still has feeling. He won't be needing it to use his word board anymore. "It's all right, Tellur," he says without looking away from the Maester's eyes. "It's time to set pain aside and rest."

The Old Man's head lolls back on the pillow, wobbling bonelessly as he tries to figure out where caroli's face went. "Aoli? Eeeee?"

Tellur breathes in, sharply, and then he says "…but I need to help him, so you can _talk_ to him, and everything can be alright."

Carolis shifts the pillows a bit so the old man can let his head fall back stably. He's doing everything he can to preserve what little dignity the man has left. "I'm here," he says. "I'm here, Maester." His voice falters, betraying the youth he still carries beneath the polished surface. "It's all right." He gives his hand a squeeze, and he repeats the words to give them weight. "It's all right." He tilts his head toward Tellur, though he still doesn't take his eyes off the dying old man. "We've spoken. I know that he loves me like a son, and he knows that I will remember him as the Maester I adored so dearly." For a price, cold as that is, but the price has been paid.

The old man reaches clumsily with his good hand to try and pat Lord Carolis' cheek. "Ooo ah! Aoli. Uhuhooah!" He is weeping again, this time like a child that was lost in the woods and has now been found.

Tellur's eyes flare with a sudden glitter. They have always been a faintly emotionless grey, but now they are full of too many emotions, and few of them, really, are directed at Carolis "I have. Letters for you. From him." His voice is reverting to business, but at his feet lurks Dog, who clings to him, now fully grown, with tail down between his legs and ears back. Tellur stares at the way the old man interacts with his Lord, and he covers his face with one hand suddenly.

Carolis closes the patting hand over his cheek. "Shh," he murmurs, and he hums again that light, gentle funeral song of fond farewell. "Rest," he says. "It's all right, *Laerak.*" He uses the Old Tongue word for Teacher. The old man can feel dampness under his fingertips; his former pupil has at least shed a few tears for his passing. He seems sanguine about news of the letters, for what it's worth.

Tellur seems too distressed to move. He had plans, and he had ideas for what would happen, and everything has gone a different way - he looks at the way the Maester is comforted by Carolis - a comfort he certainly could never provide. And he then gives a low noise, his own version of a farewell. It is not a very good howl, really, as far as a wolf is concerend. As far as men are, it might be almost impossible to tell the difference.

It is at this point Mal arrives, moving quietly on soft soled shoes, but the scent of the sea and horse sweat and himself proceeding him. He takes in the scene and Tellur's owl at a glance and very gently lays a hand on tellur's shoulder, but saying nothing.

The old Man is struggling to breath now, the drink and the poppy shutting what of his organs wsere still functioning down. His eyelids keep closing on him and it is a struggle for him to try to raise them each time. through the brandy fog, he must have caught the howl though. he's speeking entirly in vowels now and barely even that. "Eee? Eeeu? Aoi? Eeeu?"

"Tellur," rasps the master of the hounds "It's Tellur. I sent your book to the other Maesters." Which he did not. The lie is just so…blatant. But he is trying to do what he thinks is wise, even if it seldom is.

Carolis looks to Malcolm and Tellur, and his eyes are watery though not red-rimmed. No blotchy, snotty weeping for him. He's one of those bastards who sheds merely a few poetic tears that roll down his pallid cheeks all crystalline and pure. Yeah, one of *those* assholes. He lifts his chin, then nods Tellur (and by proxy Malcolm) closer. "Tellur is here," he says to the old man. He knows the poppy juice will numb everything, that the old man will go to sleep and never wake up. Not the worst way to go. "Tellur is going to tell you good night, now."

The Old Man is in no condition to spot a lie. The old man has lost control of his bowels and is barely conscious. he must have caught Tellur's words though as he smiles with the half of his face he still has some degree of control of, strangely beatific despite the stench of his imminent passing nd the indignity of his state in general. He murmurs a final, "Oooa…." and then the rasp of his sturterous breathing becomes a rattle and the light goes out of his eyes.

The Knight moves forward, quiet and as unobtrusive as possible, so that his other hand might rest on his lord's shoulder.

Tellur is in little state to tell anyone anything. But he sees the man's smile, and he says "…good night." Well, Malcolm is there, for Carolis, which might be a good thing, because Tellur does not seem to be very there himself right now. Not to mention the fact that his preternatural sense of smell is making it difficult in other ways "Good night," he mutters, wringing his hands, and then he says "…I didn't send the book to them. I…I can give it to you, my Lord."

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